Monday, May 23, 2011

Time's running out!

Of course I leave things to the very last minute... I just realized my Berk's shoe Goupon is going to expire TOMORROW May 24!! That means I have to find a time to get over to Harvard Sq by the end of the day tomorrow (or I wasted $30), and I still don't know what I should buy that's eco-friendly!

My friend Rebecca shared a few good links that point out a problem with the structure of Toms Shoe's charitable giving. Since they produce the "give away" shoes elsewhere and give them out for free they are taking away business from local shoe manufacturing companies and are wasting money and resources by shipping the shoes to these communities. Basically they are hurting the economies of the communities they are supposed to be helping, plus all that extra shipping and wasting resources is definitely not eco-friendly. 

I think I'm going to take Toms Shoes off my list of companies that are OK to buy. Instead I'll buy a pair of Reef or Teva flip flops, as both companies just launched eco-initiatives. But let's see if I even make it over there to use my Goupon!

I've been a busy bee lately and not posting much, but I'll get back to it soon. I'm moving my apt this week so after that's over I'll have some more free time!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An eco-shoe dilemma!

So I have a Groupon for Berk's Shoes in Harvard Square. Great right? Well now that I've started doing my eco-fashion thing, it seems buying shoes isn't so easy. Especially when I'm limited to a particular store.

Let me start by saying that I find the eco-friendly shoe world to be utterly confusing. It's hard enough for a consumer to determine if a clothing garment is eco-friendly, but for shoes? It's even more difficult! There are a variety of different materials used such as leather & plastics, production involves chemicals and glues, and while some of the leather may be from Italy and "handcrafted" the other half of the shoe could be made in China with who-knows what kind of materials and working conditions.

Walle and his plant in a shoe - he knows what's up
Because of this there are many different criteria under which a shoe could be considered "eco." I found a good list of eco-friendly shoe brands on this site: Planetshoes considers shoe to be eco-friendly if they meet one of these criteria:
  • Made from sustainable natural materials that can easily be recycled or biodegraded.
  • Made from recycled materials.
  • Made of vegan materials.
  • Fair Trade and/or ethically produced.
  • Energy used to make the shoes come from renewable resources like wind or solar.
For my sanity, I'm going to also use Planetshoes's criteria, because my own "rules" seem a little too stricted in the shoe department.

I've been trying to research the eco-friendly practices of some of the brands Berk's carries. And actually (I'm not surprised) Berk's is pretty good. They sell quite a few eco-friendly shoe brands.

Eco-friendly brands Berk's does carry: Arcopedico, Birkenstock, Chaco, Kigo, Merrell, Naot, New Balance, Reef, Teva, The North Face, Wolky.

Some of these brands are really great! But they aren't exactly what I'm looking for - I don't need sandals, and I don't wear the chunky style of many of those brands.  Unfortunately the brand I like the best from Planetshoes's eco list is not carried by Berk's, but you should still check them out: Naya.

One thing Berk's does carry is Tom's Shoes. I was sort of on the fence about Tom's because they aren't specifically eco-friendly. They say they use Earth and eco-friendly materials whenever possible, and although they manufacture their shoes in Argentina, China, and Ethiopia, they say they require their factories to adhere to their standards of fair wages and good working conditions. These things don't exactly fit my rules, but I think their philanthropic mission makes up for it. If you don't know, for every pair of shoes purchased, Tom's donates a pair to a child in need.  Pretty awesome.

Hmmm and cute!!

So what does everyone think? Can I buy a pair of Tom's shoes and stretch my eco requirements since I have a credit to Berk's? I vote yes, but I'm curious to see other's opinions... 

Also I stopped into the vegan shoe store Sudo Shoes near Porter sq this weekend and was very impressed. I plan on going back and giving you a full report!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mobius Wearable Art Show Pics

So the show last night went really well! There were a ton of people and a lot of really interesting and innovative designs. Here are some photos of my "Little Red Re-design."

Yay! Success!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little Red Re-design

So after a few weeks of procrastinating and a few days of hard work, I've finally finished the garment I'm submitting to the Mobius Wearable Art Show this Friday May 6! Yay!

Thanks to my fabulous friend in her modeling debut: Rebecca Woodbury! 
The idea behind this garment was very eco-fashion inspired. I wanted to take normal objects, especially ones that are broken or ready to be thrown away (like the umbrellas), and give them new life by transforming them into something interesting and unexpected.

If you remember my previous post about this show I was planning on making a dress out of only the two broken red umbrellas. Well I pretty much made the dress (see photo below), but I thought it turned out way too normal-looking and boring. I didn't feel that it qualified as "wearable art" so I decided to re-think things a bit. The skirt I ended up using I made for a school project a few years ago. It's made of 1800 red rubber bands. I had always really liked the skirt never really liked the top that I made with it. So I ended up cutting up the umbrella dress, adding a hood, and now I have a new, better (I think), wearable art garment!

the umbrella dress as close as it ever came to existing...

Details on the show!
Mobius Wearable Art Runway Show
Where: Mobius, 725 Harrison Ave, Boston MA
When: Friday May 6 @ 7pm
Suggested Donation: $10 general, $5 friends of Mobius, students & seniors

My designer friend June Monteiro won the Word Art contest and will be showing two pieces in the show as well! It should be a fun and interesting night!